Soft Circuits, a summer camp on wearables at Catch in Elsinore, Denmark
Published 2 September 2020 by Vanessa Carpenter
In Elsinore, Denmark, artists, designers, technologists and creatives alike gathered from 18th to 22nd of August for the Catch “Soft Circuits” summer camp, led by creative technologist, writer and artist Mirabelle Jones. We met the workshop participants and saw their projects, also hearing from Catch Program Leader, Majken Overgaard, and the summer camp teacher, Mirabelle Jones.
The camp introduced Adafruit’s “Circuit Playground Express”, a platform with a surprising number of features including everything from capacitive touch, to sound, to neopixels, and almost everything in between. Mirabelle had prepared a Github repository of example programs so it was easy to get started and as one of Mirabelle’s goals was to focus on how to help people learn to program in C++.
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Our summer camp ‘Soft Circuits’ started today and we are happy to meet this inspiring group of people who will be attending our camp the rest of the week? Mirabelle Jones is introducing Adafruit’s Circuit Playground – a microcontroller packed with opportunities: It will be very exciting to see what kind of projects will formed during the week and we will keep you updated ? #adafruit #circuitplayground #summercamp #artandtechnology #education #creativecoding @queerseawitch
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Although many participants had never encountered programming or worked with electronics before, they quickly brought their concepts to life. Mirabelle’s approach was to provide inspiration, showing projects of their own and others, and how they used embedded electronics, while also highlighting the artistic overtones of the projects. Some of the artists they highlighted included Julie Østengaard, electronic music artist who also co-created the workshop; Leah Buechley, who created the Lilypad Arduino; Jie Qi, who works with capacitive painting, Amy Karle, who is working with bioart and tech, and so many more.
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A few glimpses from this past week of soft circuits with @catch_art_tech – A longer video with interviews with each artist coming soon! Sewing electronics rather than housing them in plastic or metal or a hard structure, means that the electronics can move with you, and be part of your daily life in an unobtrusive way. We've created many wearables in the past, but this is the first time we've really created things with conductive thread and paint. It was a fascinating experience and we're looking forward to using these methods with new projects in the fall. Let us know if you're interested in working with soft circuits! Here's a little video of some of the projects from the camp. #wearables #softcircuits #summercamp
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The summer camp ended with an exhibition for the public including performances by some of the artists who wore and demonstrated their wearables and creations.
Catch, which you might have heard about before in this article, is located in Helsingør, Denmark (Elsinore in English) and focuses on art, design and technology. It was founded by Elsinore Municipality in 2017 to encourage and make space for innovation, creative entrepreneurship and education.
Catch is no stranger to hosting summer camps, and has in the past hosted a summer camp on Technogenesis and returning again this year, is previous artist-in-residence at Catch (read her interview in Makery), Helen Leigh, author, artist and maker, who literally wrote the book on DIY Electronics (for kids).
In this summer camp, Helen Leigh returned via video call to join a discussion with Majken Overgaard and Deborah Hustic (Artistic Director at Radiona who was also hosting a summer camp in Croatia at the same time as part of the European network Feral Labs and thus also joined by video). This round-table discussion resulted in “10 Rules for Making Money as an Artist” – you can read this article here.
Watch the video documentation on Soft Circuits:
Catch'”Soft Circuits” is part of the Feral Labs Network summer camps series, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.